Nellie Andreeva

The CW brass considered the new Sarah Michelle Gellar drama Ringer a self-starter, and it proved them right in its debut last night. The mystery drama originally developed and piloted for CBS drew 2.74 million viewers, jumping 68% from its lead-in, the fourth-season premiere of 90210 (1.6 million). Ringer also brought in a broader, mostly older audience. In adults 18-49, the show was up from 90210 by 50% (1.2/3 vs. 0.8/3), while in adults 18-34, the advantage was 22% (1.1/3 vs. 0.9/2). Versus CW’s series debuts last fall, Ringer matched the performance of the now-defunct Hellcats and was down from the premiere of Nikita (1.4/4), though Nikita had a much stronger lead-in with The Vampire Diaries. Ringer was the CW’s most-watched program in the time period in three years, since the series premiere of 90210 in September 2009. Given the fact that last night was the CW’s first night of original programming after three months of repeats, the CW will give Ringer more sampling by re-running the premiere on Friday and again next Monday at 9 PM. As for 90210, it was down 18% in total viewers from the series’ debut last fall when it aired in the Monday 8 PM slot. It was on par with the May season finale.

The other series to premiere last night night was NBC’s Parenthood (2.3/6 in 18-49, 6.8 million total viewers), which was down 15% from last season’s debut. In total viewers, the dramedy drew its largest audience since then. Like last September, the Parenthood season opener followed the final performance show of America’s Got Talent (3.6/10, 13.2 million), which was down 8% from last year though it was up 16% from last week to hit an eight-week high in the demo. (Talent is expected to close some of the ratings gap with last year as the reality series is always adjusted up in the finals.) At 8 PM, the season and presumably series finale of It’s Worth What? (1.1/4) was down 8% from last week to match a series low. ABC aired Wipeout (2.0/6), followed by ABC News’ Jackie Kennedy audio tapes special (1.5/4). CBS and Fox aired all repeats. NBC (2.4/7, 8.2 million) won the night in 18-49 while CBS (1.6/5, 8.9 million) surprisingly topped the total viewer competition with no originals.

TV Editor Nellie Andreeva - tip her here.